The Mercury Music Prize – Discuss

Yesterday saw the shortlist for this year’s Mercury Music Prize announced.  As a reminder, this is what it is about (from the website):

The Mercury Music Prize promotes the best of UK and Irish music and the artists who produce it. This is done through the celebration of the 12 ‘Albums of the Year’, recognising artistic achievement across a range of contemporary music genres.

The winner is announced in September.  There is a good pedigree of past winners and only one artist has won it twice; PJ Harvey in 2001 and 2011.  Both The XX and Alt-J have been nominated this year, both have won it before, so we could see another multi-nominated winner in 2017.

Here’s the announcement as made on BBC 6 Music – for those who can’t play that, check out the website linked above.  Previous winners are also listed.

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 12.32.22

Does anyone fancy reviewing any of these?  or perhaps giving a view of any of the nominated albums over the coming weeks?

For today though…

Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to discuss this issue.  What do you think of the nominations?  Are there any obvious omissions? What’s your favourite previous winning album etc etc.


8 thoughts on “The Mercury Music Prize – Discuss

  1. I suppose that I ought to post a disclaimer first; I am not really interested in prizes, be they music, literary or for the visual arts.

    Having said that, what does interest me is the range of music nominated for the Mercury Prize. Who wins doesn’t really worry me. It seems to me that the selection tries to cover a number of bases, e.g. chart successes, obvious left-field acts, critics darlings, experimental etc.

    To be honest, I’ve only ever heard a few of the nominees. Of them, the only act that I own anything by is The xx, although I plan to buy the Dinosaur CD because I like what I’ve heard. I don’t like Alt-J, not fussed about Kate Tempest (I couldn’t imagine actually sitting down and listening to a whole CD of her stuff) and the rest are a closed book to me, apart from Ed Sheeran who is just crap pop fodder.

    This is pretty much the usual Mercury situation for me.

    • Agree Carole, I’m not too fussed either about awards but the Mercury Prize always throws out something I’ve not come across before – this year it is Dinosaur, which I’m mightily impressed with. I don’t mind a bit of The XX, I like Alt-J’s previous winner, but my reaction to this one when I heard it was definitely “meh”.

  2. Like Carole, I am not bothered or agitated by art awards of any kind – they are usually producer-campaigns and entirely commercial – though of course there are the odd distractions.
    I have three of these albums : Stormzy, Sampha and Loyle Carner. They are all three first class pieces of music. My favourite by far is Loyle Carner’s ‘Yesterday’s Gone’. Carner who is a young mixed-race (black/white) Londoner producing his debut rap album. Almost 180 degrees away from the Hackney/East End sound of Stormzy which has dominated grime for the last five years (Wiley should also have been nominated, but the looses grouping includes Kano and Skepta and Krept & Konan among others). The Loyle Carner album is a collection of thoughtful self-aware interior monologues which contrast hugely with the aggressive chest-out stylings of the above-mentioned artists. Favourite rhyme : “I’m reminded of her handshakes, then I remember that I promised her some pancakes”. Points the way to a whole new genre of spoken word confessional – gets right under your skin. Clever words, disarming thoughts, general excellence all-round. Recommended.

    • Thanks Ralph. I’m with you on the awards thing, I do enjoy watching the Mercury ceremony though, I think there’s always a diverse mix and it’s not always the obvious artist that wins. I loved the fact that Skepta won last year. The energy in his music is so infectious.
      I listened to the Stormzy album on a loop for a couple of weeks when it first came out and I’ve listened to Sampha this afternoon. I hadn’t realised how much of it I already knew. But I have to agree with you about Loyle Carner. I find him so engaging, his back story is fascinating (plus his cookery school foundation is a brilliant idea) and he’s just a breath of fresh air when it comes to new British hip hop. The album is a total delight, loved by me and my 14 year old son (not often I can say that tbh). I heard his mum being interviewed and she described the story behind her appearance in the track where she calls him a scribble of a boy and then seeing him perform at Glastonbury explained so much of what she was describing. He’s such a fidget, never standing still but super smiley. I hope he goes far.

  3. I had a track from Dinosaur on my Festive Spill list last year (I got the album after reading the 5 star John Fordham review). We saw them live earlier this month and they were fantastic, on the one hand extremely talented and dedicated musicians, on the other so at ease with one another and so obviously delighted with where the music was taking them. If anything the live performance was even more impressive than the album because Laura Jurd sustained a continual lyrical thread right across all the tracks, there was a real sense of a story unfolding across shifting moods and tempos, almost like a folk tone-poem.

    • I’m quite ashamed that I’ve not come across them before. I’ve had it on this afternoon and have it on again now, it really is quite lovely in the same way Snarky Puppy and BadBadNotGood are. I know very little about jazz and what I do know is v mainstream.

      • Maybe you should listen to the Festive ‘Spill a bit closer this year 😉
        I think the Dinosaur album is one of those rare ones which has its own “world” rather than being a collection of tracks, it really does feel like a story is unfolding. There aren’t many jazz instrumental albums which manage that as well, in my opinion. A classic like Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage has a similar feel, to my mind.

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